NSHPOA Supports Draft Land-spreading Ordinance

January 8, 2018 - The Association has submitted a letter to all County Supervisors citing its support for a draft ordinance proposed to replace the existing landspreading provisions of the San Bernardino County Code.

Editor's Note: The Association retracted its support for the ordinance when it became aware that the ordinance does not apply to compost, which is only a euphemism for processed sewage sludge.

Landspreading is a common term used to describe the spreading of sewage sludge, an acknowledged toxic material, on agricultural properties as opposed to less dangerous materials such as animal manure and chemical fertilzers such as ammonium nitrate.

Existing county code mandates landspreading separation from lactating cattle, a public water supply well, any live stream, lake or surface impoundments (uncovered settling ponds, etc,) of one-half mile, and 500 feet from residences, institutions, and farms producing crops for human consumption.

 The proposed ordinance, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF SAN BERNARDINO, STATE OF CALIFORNIA,REPEALING AND ENACTING ARTICLE 11 OF CHAPTER 8 OF DIVISION 3 OF TITLE 3 OF THE SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY CODE, RELATING TO THE LAND APPLICATION OF BIOSOLIDS” among other restrictions now replaces ‘institutions’ with school sites, and day-care centers with an increased separation of two miles, increases distances from non-agricultural residences and buildings to one mile, specifies 1200 feet from domestic water supply wells and 100 feet from non-domestic wells, and reduces separation from one-half mile to 1000 feet from surface waters including ponds.

Obviously the increased restrictions would substantially and beneficially eliminate landspreading in the Newberry, Daggett, and Yermo areas, as well as other populated areas in the county, even though there seems to have been a tendency to eliminate language in the draft, spotlighted in current code, that emphasizes the attendant dangers of sludge landspreading.

But, all in all, our area and others will benefit if this ordinance modification takes place, not withstanding the opposition of those waste management companies that profit from the dangerous landspreading practice.

If our supervisors really care about the health and welfare of rural county residents, they will implement the provisions of this draft without significant modification.

We can only hope.